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PayPal Innovation Scholars Announced

Oct 5 2020

Two ICME PhD students have been named 2020-2021 PayPal Innovation Scholars.  The PayPal Innovation program recognizes aspiring scholars in fields such as graph clustering, tensor networks, reinforcement learning, social physics, data privacy and identity, explainable AI, neuromorphic computing, and quantum computing. The award was established to encourage scholarship and research in these emerging technology areas, which hold great promise across many industries to improve performance, lower costs, increase accuracy and provide new research and business insights. 

The recipients are:

• Ruohan Zhan

Ruohan is a fourth-year PhD student advised by Professor Susan Athey. Her research lies in the intersection of causal inference, statistics, and machine learning. She is fascinated by how counterfactual reasoning helps modeling in a variety of areas such as policy learning and evaluation, market design, etc. She is particularly interested in developing explainable and reliable methods to solve real-world problems.

• Kristen Kessel

Kristen is a fourth-year PhD student in ICME, where her research focuses on the design and analysis of algorithms, particularly for online matching problems. During her time at Stanford, she has interned at Apple, Google, AQR, and Citadel. Prior to Stanford, she completed her bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics at Harvard University, and worked at Goldman Sachs in New York.


This program is made possible with the generous support of PayPal. Available in more than 200 markets around the world, the PayPal platform, including Braintree, Venmo and Xoom, enables consumers and merchants to receive money in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds in 56 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 25 currencies.